There won't be any royalty taking part in Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations next summer, due to fears a visit from theQueen could provoke anti-monarchist sentiments, according to reports.
Montreal newspaper La Presse reported on the weekend that the federal government is not inviting Queen Elizabeth to la vielle capitale' s birthday bash next summer because it would be too controversial. The newspaper report was based on federal documents obtained under access to information laws.
The Quebec government said it was disappointed to hear the news because it thought an invitation should have been extended despite possible reprisals. Quebec hasn't ruled out the possibility of appealing the decision, said Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Benoît Pelletier.
"We told the Canadian government about our wish to have the Queen present at the 400th anniversary celebrations," Pelletier told Radio-Canada, the CBC's French-language service.
"We know there would be controversy if the Queen came to Quebec. But this controversy would be provoked by a minority of people, and we can't be at the mercy of these minorities, these individuals, who still have their gaze turned towards 1760."
The royal snub doesn't faze Quebec City's newly elected mayor, Régis Labeaume.
"They can decide what they want," he said, explaining the Queen is far down the list of his priorities. "It's not complicated. I don't have the energy to pursue this file."
The possibility of a visit from Her Majesty for the anniversary celebrations has already sparked a firestorm of debate among Quebec's sovereigntist factions.
The sovereignties have long opposed the monarchy. In 1971, when then Parti Québécois leader René Lévesquewasasked whether there would be any role for the monarchy in a sovereign Quebec, he answered: "Are you joking? Why, I have great respect for the Queen. But what the hell part should monarchy have in Quebec?"
Some PQ legislators also refused to swear allegiance to the Queen at the national assembly in 1970, as is required by the constitution.
The Queen last visited Quebec in 1987.